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Ruth Duke, 103, will read ‘The Christmas Story’

Ruth Duke, 103, practices reading “The Christmas Story.” (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – On Christmas Eve, we hope everyone will join The Cullman Tribune as an incredibly special guest reads “The Christmas Story” about the birth of Jesus. Mrs. Ruth Duke will be telling the story of Mary and Joseph as they traveled to Bethlehem and the Savior was born. Duke, known to many as “Mama Duke,” recently celebrated her 103rd birthday and is excited to have the opportunity to share the story of Jesus’ birth.

Duke is a native of Welti and has lived in the Welti area all her life. Church has always been a central part of her life; she has attended Mt. Zion Baptist Church since its founding. Mama Duke is the matriarch of five generations of Dukes. She said this Christmas will be quite different due to the pandemic, but she hopes her telling of “The Christmas Story” will be something everyone can enjoy.

The version of “The Christmas Story” Duke will read is an adaptation by Christian author and Christmas “expert” James Cooper from the United Kingdom.

Upon learning that Mama Duke would be reading his work, Cooper said, he instantly read about her 103rd birthday celebration, sharing in an email, “It will be an honour for my site to be involved with the event. My grandfather died a few years ago, but he also got to 103- his funeral was on what would have been his 104th birthday!!”

For more information on Cooper, visit

Tune in to The Cullman Tribune’s Facebook page ( at approximately 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24 to watch Mama Duke read this special story.

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